The song is based on the real-life suicide of high school student Jeremy Wade Delle
The mother of Jeremy Wade Delle – the student who inspired Pearl Jam’s 1992 track ‘Jeremy’ – has spoken out about the song for the first time.
16-year-old Delle took his own life in front of his classmates in January 1991. Speaking of his death, Delle’s mother Wanda Crane told WFAA “that day that he died did not define his life.”
She added: “He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson. He was a friend. He was talented.”
Later, she reflected on first hearing the news of her son’s death. “I was in my office at work. I didn’t believe it. I was in shock. Not my son. I was going to pick him up that afternoon at school.”
Much like the song depicts, Delle was a budding artist prior to his passing. “He won first prize at the Texas State Fair,” Crane said. “He won best of shows, and this was all before he was 12 years old.” You can watch her full interview below.
A former classmate of Delle, Brittany King, was in the room at the time of Delle’s death. “Shock and fear went into my mind,” she said. “All the students kinda ran into the back of the room and huddled.”
This was a big wakeup call. Like, you know what? Life is not all hunky-dory all the time. Real things, tragedies happen. It made me grow up pretty quick, literally overnight.”
When asked about Pearl Jam’s homage, King said: “I was angry at them for writing that song. I thought, You don’t know. You weren’t there. That story isn’t accurate.” You can watch the video for ‘Jeremy’ below.
Speaking of the song last year, frontman Eddie Vedder told Billboard: “That was a newspaper article. And then when I went to write about it, I thought of actually getting a hold of what the actual person it was written about, but then I thought that would be intruding.
“And I totally related because I had a very similar experience with a kid who I grew with. I didn’t really grow up with; I just had a couple of instances with him and he ended to be a, you know, kind of a…I mean, he freaked out. His world blew up. He kind of freaked out and brought a gun into class one day. It was geography class and shot up a [chuckles] 1000 gallon fish tank or something. I was in the hallway and I remember hearing it.”